Shadowing Group Reports

Stanchester Community School Shadowing Group aka Fiesta en la Biblioteca Reading Club!



Group leader Jonathan Guy says the Carnegie Medal is "the highlight of the year ... something that everyone involved looks forward to immensely." Jonathan loves the positive feedback he gets from students and staff and really appreciates the opportunity to do something that isn't focussed on grades.

Stanchester Community School shadowing group is run by the school librarian in co-operation with the school's three English teachers. The group consists of about forty students from all years with many returning year after year. New members are recruited from among the keenest readers from year 7, who can often be those who use the library the most, or simply just recommended by friends. The scheme is not selective but open to anyone who wants to do it.

Meetings are held weekly in the library, at lunchtime and after school, but workshops run by English teachers also take place in lesson time. Meetings held in the library have a relaxed atmosphere and start with a general discussion, then split up into small groups who later feed back to everyone else. A couple of parents are also involved and take part in the sessions, thus providing another perspective on the books. Workshops run by teachers are an hour long and use mind maps and balloon debates to encourage discussion of the books. The school also runs events in collaboration with other schools, and usually manages to get one or two authors and sometimes a local Youth Libraries Group judge to come in to talk to pupils. About a third of the group members manage to read all the books, while most manage one or two.

The group leader uses the shadowing website weekly, and encourages shadowers to use it as much as possible . . . the group particularly like the author videos and the blog function. As for the scheme's impact on young readers - it is clear that the kids who are involved develop a real enthusiasm for reading. The shadowing scheme achieves the outcomes hoped for every year, and it provides a good opportunity to promote the library and the activity of reading.

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